DAC 2012 – Review of Halflings by Heather Burch

Hey everyone!  I am so pleased to bring you my first review in participation with the 2012 Debut Author Challenge!  If you haven’t heard of this or signed up for yet, just click that link to learn more.  The challenge is open for sign-ups until May 31, 2012.

My next review in conjunction with this will be my friend Jessica Therrien’s book Oppression.  I’m so excited for that one, and I’ll also be interviewing her here on Tuesday, March 6th, so keep an eye out for that!  It’s going to be good :).

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher to review as a part of the DAC ARC Tours.

Running . . . the fence . . . the wolves.  Voices.

One moment Nikki Youngblood is sketching in the forest, and the next she is running for her life.  Staring a hell-hound in the face and being able to stand through the incapacitating Angel Song are no small feats, though, and the Halflings sent to guard her are not sure what to make of it.

Suddenly, Nikki is discovering that the world around her is not at all what she thought, and she has a gift that will surprise everyone.

These Halflings are not hobbits, but rather the offspring of the ‘daughters of men’ and the ‘sons of God’, following the traditional translation of ‘sons of God’ being ‘angels’ (referring to Genesis 6:1-2).  Now, I personally have a few theological problems with that theory, but this is a story.  I read and write fantasy.  I’m definitely willing to suspend belief in a few situations, especially since fantasy is all about asking “what if?”

Halflings is a YA (young adult) book.  I could barely tolerate teenagers when I was a teenager (let alone now), but for some reason I’ve always enjoyed reading YA.  I found the character of Nikki particularly enjoyable because she was mature enough for an actual 17-year-old who is already an accomplished martial artist and plain-old-regular artist, but still teenager enough to be believable.

There are three halflings assigned to Nikki’s protection.  Mace, Raven, and Vine – Vine is fondly called “Bloom” much to his chagrin.

Halflings, as the offspring of humans and angels, are not allowed a place on earth or in heaven, and for them the ‘unforgivable sin’ is falling in love with a human.  Mace and Nikki are immediately attracted to each other, but a dynamic develops between Nikki and Raven as well.

Raven was already teetering on the edge of light and dark, though.  He’s not struggling with the chemistry between himself and Nikki, not like Mace is.

This book is filled with both the expected plot upsets, and plenty of unexpected ones as well.  It is the first book in a set, and the ending is very much of a cliffhanger.  The major plot line gets somewhat resolved, but the bad guy(s) are still there.  It’s not finished yet.  But I was expecting this.  The sucky thing about being a writer is being able to predict how certain plots work, the surprise is always in the characters

Overall, on writing style, it was an easy read.  The plots and scenes flowed smoothly, and when I had to put the book down to take care of something, I was eager to pick it back up again.  There were a few sentences that I would have re-worded (since I had to do a double-take on them to make sure I knew what the author was saying), and I did find a typo, but overall it was beautifully crafted.

Halflings is available in hardback and for Kindle.